Jake Worth

How I Talk

August 10, 20172 min read

I’ve been giving technical talks for a few years. I keep a list here.

This makes me nervous, and it’s a major time investment if I’m doing it right. But it’s worth the effort, because it benefits me and others. It’s fueled my growth as a developer.

The Plan

I’m speaking at Vim Chicago next month about integrating React.js with Vim, and I’d like to use that as an excuse to write about my speaking preparation process.

In forthcoming posts I plan to cover the steps I take to prepare for a talk, which are:

  1. Finding an idea
  2. Brainstorming
  3. Researching and preparing slides
  4. Practice and Delivery

Some smart people have written on these subjects, and anything I’d have to say leverages these ideas:

Several of these writers talk about submitting conference proposals (AKA CFPs, or Call-For-Papers). I don’t plan to cover that in depth. Why not? Because I don’t really know how it works. I submitted more than a few proposals before getting accepted to speak at my first conference, RailsConf 2017. I believe once you can write a compelling proposal, there is a significant element of luck to the process. So, submit many proposals, and be like Thomas Jefferson, who one said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

I’ll link to these posts here as I write them. I can’t claim these steps as essential; they just help me. My target reader is somebody who wants to speak and has never done so before. I want you to walk away with encouragement and a step-by-step, jargon-free checklist for preparing a technical talk.

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Jake Worth

I'm Jake Worth, a web developer. Home About Now Newsletter